Thursday, June 16, 2011

Staying Awake

Borrowed from a friend: "It's painful to face how we harm others, and it takes awhile. It's a journey that happens because of our commitment to gentleness and honesty, our commitment to staying awake, to being mindful." I think that you could substitute the word "horses" for "others" and this quote would easily fit the horse world.

Millions of horses, over the course of history, have been hurt by man; some for food, for war, for commerce, or for sport. The relationship between horse and man is a long one and fraught with domination and coercion; so much so that many people are numb to the pain inflicted on equines, whether it be outright or subtle, whether the pain is perpetrated by angry, ignorant teenagers or by a highly esteemed professional, sometimes even if the abuse happens right in front of them. It isn't easy to acknowledge that we have done wrong, or that we made a mistake that cause an animal pain. How do you apologize to a being that is at your mercy, and cannot accuse or blame or even explain?

It is easier to turn away, using the excuse of 'minding my own business,' rather than taking the uncomfortable, difficult stand and risk being ridiculed or embarassed. It is easier to believe that it is someone else's responsibility to stand up. It is easier to explain away one's own actions as 'necessary to win,' or 'the stupid horse was being bad, so I had to set him straight.'

There is a change happening, though; a wave of humane feeling that has emboldened many to take a stand and speak for the horse. More people are taking it upon themselves to be gentle, honest, awake and mindful. More people are looking at the things they have always done, and re-evaluating their ethics. Never before in its history with man has the horse had so many friends willing to defend it. And this comes at a critical time. The wild horse's right to be free is at risk. The fight to abolish slaughter continues. The recession has left thousands of horses unwanted, unfed, uncared for. Within competitive circles, the drive to win causes racehorses to be drugged, show horses to be whipped and sored, reining and dressage horses to be hyper-flexed, and jumping horses to be poled. The horse needs as many friends as it can get!

So let's try to remember the divine wonder each of us had as children, when we sat on a horse's back for the first time, and could appreciate the amazing power, combined with the supreme gentleness, that the horse possesses. Let's stay mindful and awake, and always vigilant for ways to make the horse's life better. Let's EVOLVE.